Babyface acted 'Indianapolis' to keep from fanning over Michael Jackson, podcast reveals

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Babyface fans, get ready for a deep dive into the Indianapolis-grown artist.

The super producer-singer-songwriter is working on a documentary about his career.

In it, we’re likely to get the deets on the demise of the stellar production team he formed with L.A. Reid.

That’s among the revelations from Kenny “Babyface” Edmond’s appearance on the Rap Radar hip-hop podcast, hosted by Brian “B.Dot” Miller and Elliott Wilson.

Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds (center) is the guest on the March 2, 2023 "Rap Radar" podcast with hosts Brian "B.Dot" Miller (left) and Elliott Wilson (right).
Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds (center) is the guest on the March 2, 2023 "Rap Radar" podcast with hosts Brian "B.Dot" Miller (left) and Elliott Wilson (right).

In the episode, which drops Thursday, the North Central High School grad talks about old and new projects and dishes about his songwriting process; artists with which he wants to work (Busy, Drake?); the ascension of Bobby Brown; and the influences of other producers, including Diddy and Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.

He also shares how his epic April 2020 Verzuz battle with Teddy Riley put him in front of a new audience and led to 2022’s Girls Night Out with an all-women lineup, a la “Waiting to Exhale,” but more collaborative.

“Everything I played for the girls to make sure they were cool with it, as well. It was total collaboration,” he said.

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There are a lot of names to drop.

The man won the Grammy for producer of the year every year from 1996 through 1998, has produced or written for Whitney Houston ("I'm Your Baby Tonight" ), Madonna ("Take a Bow"), Eric Clapton ("Change the World") and Boyz II Men’s (“End of the Road”).

His and Reid’s LaFace Records label launched the recording careers of Toni Braxton, TLC, Toni Braxton, Usher, Pink and Outkast.

With all that though he found himself having to hold it together during his first professional meeting with another Hoosier – legend Michael Jackson.

“Michael was magical.  Michael had this ability to make people do anything he wanted them to do.”

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Although excited to meet with the King of Pop, Babyface had been advised by Lionel Ritchie to not fall under his spell, with the "Dancing on the Ceiling" singer warning, “Watch out for him because he’s a sneaky little character and he’ll get you doing a bunch of stuff you don’t want to do. He’s got that charm. He’ll pull you in.”

“I acted a little more 'Indianapolis' than I normally would,” Edmonds told Rap Radar hosts Miller and Wilson. “I didn’t fan out on him. And I think because of that we ended up being cool with each other.”

“He always used to say, ’You’re funny. We’ve got the same sense of humor because we're both from Indiana.'”

Edmonds worked with Jackson, who died in 2009, on a couple of songs; none that hit the way the producer wanted, he said.

“But I really hung out with him a few times where we’d just talk. It wasn’t about recording. And it's precious to me to have been in that position," he said.

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Edmonds also gave props to Teddy Riley and R. Kelly — he referred to the imprisoned R&B artist  “the name no one wants to mention” — for producing hits such as “Remember the Time'' and “You are Not Alone” with Jackson.

The Rap Radar episode will be available on Apple Podcasts, as well as Spotify and most other major podcast platforms.

Edmonds is on a national tour with Anita Baker that will not be coming to Indianapolis. And we’re not at all salty about that.

Contact IndyStar reporter Cheryl V. Jackson at or 317-444-6264. Follow her on Twitter:@cherylvjackson.

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Babyface talks doc, and not falling under the spell of Michael Jackson